NYC Hikes Fines on Façade Noncompliance

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April 1, 2020
“NY Facades” by Jane M (CC BY-ND 2.0).

In the wake of the tragic death of architect Erica Tishman, felled December 17, 2019, by falling debris from a Manhattan building whose façade should already have been repaired (see February 2020 Interface at https://iibec.org/architect-killed-by-debris/), New York City’s Façade Inspection and Safety Program (FISP), or Local Law 11, now has increased fines for nonconforming buildings. More robust inspection mandates and documentation have also been included in the changes, which took effect February 20.

New penalties include:

  • $5,000 fine for failing to file an acceptable inspection report.
  • $1,000 per month for filing late.
  • $1,000 per month plus a monthly fine for each linear foot of sidewalk shed for failure to correct unsafe conditions.

The city has also issued an emergency declaration demanding that owners fix dangerous building façades and allowing the city to send its own contractors to erect scaffolding and to send the bill to the property owner.

A major change requires close-up physical scaffold examination of exterior walls of buildings of six stories or higher at intervals of 60 ft. along the length of a structure. Drones or other methods of assessing exterior wall conditions cannot be used in place of close-up inspections. There are additional requirements related to experience and responsibilities of Qualified Exterior Wall Inspectors (QEWIs).